Do You Always Have to Stop at T-Junctions?

Whether or not you have to stop at a T-junction depends on two things:

  • The type of T-junction that you’re approaching.
  • What you can, or cannot see as you approach the T-junction.

Type of T-junction

The only T-junction that you must stop at each and every time you use it is a stop junction. T-junctions with stop signs and stop road markings mean that it’s a legal requirement for you to stop before proceeding across the solid white line. Other T-junctions that may require you to stop are controlled junctions (junctions controlled by traffic lights), where you must stop at red and amber lights.

What You Can, or Cannot See

You do not have to legally stop at a give way junction, but you must be prepared to give way to traffic that’s already on the major road. As you approach the give way T-junction, you’ll need to determine what you can, or cannot see before crossing the give way lines and entering the new road. You’ll need to determine whether it’s an:

  • Open junction: You have a clear view of the major road you wish to join along with the traffic on it.
  • Closed junction: Your view of the major road is severely reduced as you approach.
  • Blind junction: Your view of traffic on the major road is significantly reduced as you attempt to cross the give way line.
Open junction vs closed junction
Your view of the major road you intend on joining is much clearer at an open T-junction

You can only properly determine whether the junction is open, closed or blind if you’re approaching the junction at an appropriate speed that allows you to conduct effective observation. Every year, the majority of driving tests are failed at junctions (see top 10 driving test fails). Many of these test failures are due to approaching at excessive speed.

At a open give way T-junction, if you determine that the major road you intend to join is free from approaching traffic, then there’s no need to stop. You can proceed over the junction line. But if in any doubt, it’s best to be safe and stop.

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